Putting his own life at risk in order to saver others

Unfortunately, the situation worsens, the 18th of April 1994. The militia Interahamwe1 starts burning Tutsi houses and chasing them. That day, Vjeko heard of rumours of a potential attack on the parish. He then takes a part of the refugees to the primary school of Musengo. Unfortunately, found by the militia, most of them are slaughtered the next day. Brother Vjeko goes back to the venue. He drives the survivors to Kabgayi. At the roadblock of Cyakabiri, the Interahamwe get him out of the vehicle and make him kneel down. They ask him to pay, for his crossing. Vjeko complies and thus saves an 18-month old baby, that he had found hanging on his mother’s back, killed in Musengo.

It’s in the Kabgayi diocese that Brother Vjeko decides then to evacuate the most threatened refugees. He first uses a minibus taxi that he has rented, then his own vehicle, or even sometimes an ambulance. Thus, he pretends to transport severely wounded people. So not to arise the suspicion of the Interahamwe, and because numerous roadblocks are built between Kivumu and Kabgayi, Vjeko drives by night. He hides people in food bags, or between wood logs. Almost every day, he visits the refugees in Kabgayi, and brings them supplies, accompanied by the parish’s driver in another vehicle. Vjeko is pleased to meet again those he thought were dead.

Not allowing himself a minute’s break, Brother Vjeko goes to the villages and the roadblocks to recuperate the wounded and take them to the hospital of Kabgayi, where the nuns of Kivumu, that he mobilised, treat them. Vjeko even helps some to go to Burundi, for instance a labourer working in the parish with his sister.

The 25th of April 1994, the army arrests Vjeko once more. He is forced to sit down. The army accuses him of lying, transporting not dead bodies and wounded people to the hospital, but refugees. However, Vjeko manages to get out. This situation will happen often, if not to say every time he moves. But, he can’t help helping his neighbour; he will continue to risk his life, until the arrival of the FPR at Kabgayi, the 2nd of June 1994.


1 The Interahamwe are a militia created in 1992 by the MRND, the party of President Juvénal Habyarimana. Interahamwe means “those who fight together” in Kinyarwanda, the Rwandan language. They are responsible for most of the massacres during the genocide in 1994.